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May 3, 2009 03:06 PM

Victoria Itinerary

I'm looking for itinerary suggestions May7-12, have a rental car, and will rent bikes weather permitting.

Would prefer more obscure "hole in the wall" places to eat/things to see, Any local gems?.

I'm also a huge Karaoke fan (LOL) so planning on hitting Sopranos one night (any other suggestions and how is their food?)

I'm a huge seafood fan especially when its NOT battered and deep fried, love spicy/exotic foods, Sushi, Thai, good bakeries, good burgers, and good brew pubs!

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  1. I already have 2 reservations;

    1 - Buchart (I have tickets/lunch reserved for Saturday to avoid the Sunday mothers day crowds)
    2 - Tea (i have reservations at White Heather for lunch Friday)

    Any other suggestions or must see's ?

    1. Sounds like you would like Red Fish Blue Fish which is a shipping container on the inner harbour. Certainly a hole in the wall type of place and great seafood.

      1. Another one we always enjoy is John's Place on Pandora for breakfast.. They might be good for later but I've only been for breakfast. We always like Tapas as well.

        1. Here I am again -- just remembered the Noodle Box, two locations on Fisgard or Douglas. We like hole in the wall and they always please.

          9 Replies
          1. re: mickie44

            Thanks - All are now on my itinerary! Does Red Fish Blue Fish have tables and do I need to reserve at any?

            1. re: MartinT

              Red Fish, Blue Fish is outdoors. No tables, just a long bench (uncovered) with stools. It is great, but try to get there before noon or after 2 pm to avoid painfully long lines. However, I notice in your post that you do not like seafood that is battered or fried...some of the seafood at Red Fish, Blue Fish is fried in a light tempura batter.

              Other favourites...

              Daidoco...very fresh Japanese food, and very good sashimi indeed (weekday lunch spot).

              Zambri's--Tues-Fri for lunch, Tues-Sat for dinner. Modern, real Italian food using fresh local ingredients. Tucked away in a strip mall at Yates and Vancouver/Quadra.

     an office building courtyard. Mayan cuisine with wonderful in-house made corn tortillas.

              Pink Bicycle--good burger joint with an array of options for carnivores and vegetarians alike.

              Choux Choux Charcuterie...wonderful French deli on Fort St that also serves lunch. More of a take-out place, but they do have two tables.

              Brasserie L'Ecole....not exactly a hole in the wall, but definitely out of the way (French restaurant tucked away in Chinatown, on Government St (near Harold). Reservations essential. Dinner only, Tues-Sat.

              Soloman's... a new favourite for cocktails and small plates. On Herald St. near Government.

              Apologies to the above posters, but I would NOT recommend John's Place or Noodle Box. Sorry.

              1. re: anewton

                Excellent! Any breakfast recommendations or good bakeries?

                1. re: MartinT

                  My local rellies really like Shine Cafe on Fort -- a little off the beaten path but that helps avoid the egregious lines at John's Place and Blue Fox, neither of which I loved. You may hear recs for Floyd's Diner but unless things have changed, avoid. Bad service and dirty.

                  Shine Cafe
                  1548 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8S5J2, CA

                  1. re: grayelf

                    My Hotel is on Johnston and Broad about 2kms away - so not too distant at all!

                    I appreciate not waiting in line too much, such a waste when only visiting for 5 days...

                    I just checked online - Shine looks menu looks yummy!

                    1. re: MartinT

                      A few more thoughts:

                      RE: breakfast joints, I frequently recommend Shine, but be forewarned that it too has long lineups on weekends.

                      I like Mo:Le for breakfast. Long lineups, but you can wait in Habit, which is one of Victoria's best coffee joints.

                      My wife took me to task for naysaying Noodle Box. I have to admit, I eat there on occasion, and it is really not bad, but be aware that it is essentially pan-Asian fast food, and as such is not the place for culinary epiphanies.

                      A newer restaurant that I like (primarily a lunch place, but open for early dinners, too) is Orale on Johnson at Vancouver. They serve very fresh, authentic Mexican food. The portions are 'tapas' sized, so you have to order a few to constitute a dinner. But it is really very tasty.

                      Pig on View St. has tasty BBQ sandwiches and sides (i.e. pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken). More of a place for quick lunches and take-out.

                      You mention that you like brewpubs. I am not a big fan of the food at any of Victoria's brewpubs, but if I had to recommend one, it would be Spinnaker's in Vic West. Their beer is good, and I think their basic pub grub, i.e. burgers, wings, salads, solid. They try to do the gastropub thing, and unfortunately I think that they do not succeed with their attempts at fine dining.

                      You also mention exotic foods. Victoria is, and has never been, a hotbed for exotic cuisine. There is supposed to be a good new Turkish restaurant in Oak Bay called Nar, I believe.

                      There is a takeout curry place in Market Square called (I believe) Tibetan Kitchen. I have heard some positive reviews.

                      I also have to throw in another pitch for Pizzeria Primastrada in the Cook St Village. Other out-of-towners have praised this place on this board. They serve authentic Neapolitan pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven. Their sides and salads are fresh and creative. I really like their white beans cooked in the wood oven with garlic and a parmesan crust on top.

                      There are many other good places, but I have to eat my dinner now!

                      Please give us a report about your visit here.

                      1. re: anewton

                        To be honest, I've never understood the love affair with Noodle Box. Admittedly, I am not really a fan of pan-Asian fast food... but despite that, I've tried it several times and every time has been over-sauced, and over-salted.

                        Absolutely must second Daidoco as a lunch spot. Fresh and creative!

                        1. re: anewton

                          Thanks for the headsup on the weekend lineups at Shine. I guess the cat is well out of the bag :-) but I'd still rather wait at Shine than the other two places!

                          Also thanks for the 411 on Orale which sounds most intriguing. I'll be in Victoria for a couple of days in early June on business and have started compiling a short list... probably only dinner alas but hope springs eternal.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            For the OP, you might want to check out this thread from February 2009 for some bakery ideas

            2. Orale is really great....careful you don't drive/ride right past it, it's slightly below ground level (the food is great - I'd love to see them get a restaurant makeover too - those chairs, ugh!) And Hernandez 2nd location is great too - Bay St @ Shakespeare (old Baja Grill) - it was a partial menu when I was there a few weeks ago, but I think they're full-on now.
              Re: Sopranos food - it's a bar - so nosh somewhere else if you're looking for interesting fair and just get drinks while you're there singing ;-)
              Sushi - I like Ebizo at 604 Broughton and Shizen on Gov't (near the Chinatown gates and across from the Brasserie).
              Another breakfast spot - Willie's at the bottom of Johnson (probably 3 blks from your hotel). I was there on Sunday and it was great. I do 2nd (3rd?) the recommendation for Shine - if you can get there early enough to get a table.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cassie

                Appreciate the Sopprano's comment Cassie, we arrive late Thurs and thought we would eat there. Will instead try to find something else that is fast and still open instead... or uggggh... deal with plane fare!!! hmmmm - Maybe I'll even post the link to my performance... i hear they records and uploads to youtue on Thursdays (if i can arrive on time - I dont land until after 9pm)

                1. re: MartinT

                  I should clarify the Soprano's comment - it's a car, but they serve food - probably typical pub food - burgers, chicken strips, that sort of thing. It's not a foodie destination - but if it's between plane food and them - you'll probably be better off eating at Soprano's. Urbanspoon has their menu posted. Maybe go with Solomon's to nosh beforehand then - it's only about 3-4 blks from Soprano's (they're closed Mondays) - but open until midnight Tue-Sun.
                  On the wine front - if you venture into James Bay - Spinnakers Wine store has a tasting area / light bites beside it called "Sips" - you can try quite a few wines (or order sets of them) - along with some local meats/cheeses, soups & sandwiches - I believe they're open 7 days 10am-10pm. 425 Simcoe in James Bay Sq. A nice stop on your bikes possibly.